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A Perfectly Fine Trade Deadline for the Blue Jays

While not worthy of the term “blockbuster”, the Toronto Blue Jays had themselves a decent Trade Deadline


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The Toronto Blue Jays went into the trade deadline with a few team needs and a few team wants. Specifically, the team needed to add to their bullpen, ideally with experienced leverage arms for the late innings. They also needed to add depth to their starting rotation to help the starting five through the dog days of summer as well as any potential injuries that may arise.

 

Wants included a left handed bat to balance an already very good everyday lineup and some additional bench depth for the playoff push. I would say another want would have been a top three starting pitcher, but that was surely a want and not really a need. Lastly, some would have wanted a blockbuster trade to acquire one of Juan Soto from the Nationals or Shohei Ohtani from the Angels but those trades were never overly realistic in any sense.

 

From all accounts, the Blue Jays front office checked in on all available players to see if there was a match to be had. Rumours were out there that they were seriously in on a players that went elsewhere (Noah Syndergaard) or didn’t get traded at all (Ian Happ). In all likelihood they had deep discussions on many other players as well. For those fans that wanted the Jays to land bigger names, we must remember that no one reading this article or writing others really knows the conversations that were had by the general managers and their respective staffs. We don’t know how other teams valued the Jays prospects nor what the Jays were willing to offer.

 

By the time the trade the deadline passed, the Jays pulled off three trades. First they sent former first round draft pick, shortstop Jordan Groshans, to Miami for relievers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop. This trade addressed the team’s most pressing need – bullpen help. The new relievers are not the ‘sexy’ names most fans were c(g)lamouring for, but the Jays did acquire a true late inning leverage reliever in Bass who was having a great year at the back end of the Miami bullpen after four straight good years with the Cubs, Mariners, Jays and Marlins. In Zack Pop the Jays get a 25 year old reliever who has a very good sinker ball and slider combination. He only strikes out about 8 batters per inning but has a ground ball rate above 60%. He can help now, and with four more years of control he can help later as well.

 

The Blue Jays made two more trades right at the deadline. They acquired Mitch White a 27 year old swing man from the Dodgers for minor league pitchers Nick Frasso and Moises Brito. The Jays also get third base prospect Alex DeJesus in this deal. This trade is eerily similar to the 2020 trade that brought over swingman Ross Stripling, also from the Dodgers.

 

In White the Jays get a solid back of the rotation pitcher who can start or pitch out of the pen. Over his two year career he has started 14 games and came in from the pen 24 times. He has a career ERA of 3.58 and K’s about 8 batters per nine innings. This type of pitcher is very valuable to a playoff caliber team and should pitch a lot for the Jays in the next two months.

 

The last trade pulled off buy the Jays was the acquisition of long time Kansas City Royal utility man Whit Merrifield. An everyday player since 2016 Merrifield has significant experience at second base (612 games) as well as the outfield (258 games). The addition of Merrifield may provide an upgrade over the slumping Espinal and Biggio at second base as well as provide a bit more insurance to cover George Springer if there is an injury. The real benefit of this addition though is the leadership and experience he will bring to a youngish playoff team. In addition, he remains among the best base stealers in baseball and puts the bat on the ball, skills this Jays team can benefit from and is needed in the playoffs.

 

Once the deadline was reached the Jays front office did address the most pressing needs of the team (bullpen and back of the rotation) and at least one of the wants (bench strength). They were not flashy moves but flash wasn’t needed for this group to go far in the playoffs. We all know that this team has enough ‘flash’ already. This team will benefit from the solid additions the front office has made and are in a good position going forward.

 

All of these trades were similar in two very important regards. First, the Jays did not have to deal any of their best prospects to close the deals that they did. Those players can now be left to hopefully contribute in future years or be used to trade for other more significant additions in the future. The second similarity is the fact that all four major leaguers acquired come with additional years of team control. Bass and Merrifield through 2023 at least and White and Pop for four more years each.

 

It looks to me that the Blue Jays front office struck a good balance of strengthening the current roster, locking down pieces for future years, and holding on to their prospect capital for use at another time. While the front office did not land a Cy Young Candidate or MVP caliber player they did perfectly fine at the 2022 deadline.

 

 

 


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